Program Director

Joseph Clair

Joseph Clair

Dr. Clair serves as director of the William Penn Honors Program and as an assistant professor of religious studies. Before joining the George Fox faculty in 2013, he earned his PhD in the religion, ethics and politics program at Princeton University while also working as an assistant in instruction. His efforts were rewarded with a Department of Religion Teaching Award (2011-12) and a Graduate Prize Fellowship from Princeton’s Center for Human Values (2012-13).

Prior to Princeton, Clair earned an MPhil at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. He also holds master’s degrees from Fordham and Duke University as well as a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College. His research and teaching interests include Christian thought and ethics and the role of religion in public life. He is the author of Discerning the Good in the Letters and Sermons of Augustine (Oxford UP, 2016) and Reading Augustine: On Education, Salvation, Happiness, and the Gift of Reading (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2017).

Joseph can be contacted at 503-554-2153 or

Joseph discusses the importance of reading great books and authors, and why you should read his own favorite great book, The Confessions by Augustine.

Associate Directors

Dr. Abigail Rine Favale

Abigail Favale

Dr. Favale completed her doctorate at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she was a recipient of the competitive Overseas Research Award. In 2011, her dissertation was granted the Samuel Rutherford Prize for the most distinguished thesis in English literature. Dr. Favale’s first book, Irigaray, Incarnation and Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2013), examines religious themes in the work of contemporary women novelists, positing literature as an ideal space for religious thinking, precisely because it is a realm that cultivates imagination, mystery and incarnation. This book was awarded the 2014 Feminist and Women's Studies Association Book Prize.

Favale’s literary criticism has appeared in the academic journals Forum for Modern Language Studies and Journal of Gender Studies, as well as in volumes such as Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture (Palgrave, 2011) and Building a New World (Palgrave, 2015). In addition to her academic writing, she has published essays in a variety of venues, such as First Things, The Atlantic, and Geez Magazine, and short fiction in journals such as the Potomac Review, Talking River Review, and Melusine. Dr. Favale’s teaching interests span a wide range of world literature, both ancient and modern, and she is particularly interested in biblical literary criticism, Catholic Theology of the Body, and the intersection of theology and literary studies. On the home front, Abigail is wife to Michael, and mother to Julian and Margot.

Abigail can be contacted at 503-554-2601 or 

Javier GarciaJavier Garcia

Dr. Javier Garcia recently completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge (2016), where he received a full scholarship from the oldest college, Peterhouse, and was awarded the M.Phil Prize in Theology and Religious Studies (2011). His doctoral dissertation focused on the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, specifically on the ecumenical nature of his doctrine of the church and its continued relevance for today. Prior to his studies in Cambridge, he graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University, majoring in philosophy and French.

Dr. Garcia's research interests include modern theology, ecclesiology, questions in Lutheran and Reformed dogmatics, Pentecostalism, and Christianity in Latin America. He has published in Lutheran Quarterly (2013), Galatians and Christian Theology: Justification, the Gospel, and Ethics in Paul's Letter (Baker Academic Press, 2014), and The Kuyper Center Review, Vol. 5 (2015). Dr. Garcia is a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, where he is involved in the Global Pentecostalism Project. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion and has presented research papers at universities in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States.

Javier can be contacted at 503-554-2156 or